ICQ Rumors 81 - 90

  ICQ Rumor #90
URL: Hurry, I mean it, forward to all, including me so I know that you got this
URL's description: Her number=[some UIN] , this is a very bad virus.. this comes from ICQ.. fwd to all. checked

These warnings never end, I've covered them quite a few times on this site, but it's worth repeating a few things. First, the UINs rarely belong to evil hackers sending viruses, mostly they belong to innocent people who are the victims of some creep's malicious rumor. That alone is enough reason not to forward them. But even if the person being warned about is guilty as charged, what's stopping them from getting a new UIN and continuing to send viruses? The answer is: nothing, it takes about five minutes to get a new ICQ account and it's free. So sending warnings about individuals is a total waste of time. Consider this analogy: which is the better way to protect your home, by making a list of every known burglar or putting a lock on your door? In this case the lock is simply not running files that get sent through ICQ or e-mail. Besides, just having someone on your contact list is not a threat, they can't do anything to you unless you accept and run a file from them.

For additional info about viruses and executable files, please see The Importance of File Extensions.

  ICQ Rumor #89
The U. S. Gov't is trying to pass a bill that will charge the User for every message sent to another person that is outside their local calling area. And that for every email sent to and from the U. S. would charge the sender $.05 postage.

So now the U.S. Government is going to tax ICQ messages? How are they going to do this, by installing a postage meter on every computer in the world? Not likely. This rumor is a variation of the e-mail hoax where the U.S. Postal Service was going to start charging ISPs for every e-mail that was sent through them. Rest assured that they have no such plan, here's an excerpt from the official USP statment:

"A completely false rumor concerning the U.S. Postal Service is being circulated over the Internet via e-mail."

"The e-mail message claims that a 'Congressman Schnell' has introduced 'Bill 602P' to allow the federal government to impose a 5-cent surcharge on each e-mail message delivered over the Internet. The money would be collected by Internet Service Providers and then turned over to the Postal Service."

"No such proposed legislation exists. In fact, no 'Congressman Schnell' exists."

  ICQ Rumor #88
URL: If we get 1000000 forwards, they cannot do it.
URL's description: Microsoft wants to charge U$ 95 to use ICQ. If you disagree, please forward. pls don't ignore!!!!!!

We could get only 10 forwards and they still cannot do it because Microsoft doesn't own ICQ... AOL does and they aren't charging for it. This is like saying that Mercedes is going to raise the price of Ford Broncos, how can you charge for something you don't make? Microsoft has their own MSN Messenger Service, which is also free. And knowing Microsoft, if they ever decided to start charging for THEIR service, a million (or 10 million) forwarded messages wouldn't make a bit of difference. What they would probably do is set-up a 976 number that charged $5/minute where you would hear a ten minute recorded message followed by an chance to leave your own message, which no one would ever hear. (R88)

  ICQ Rumor #87
URL: just do it , it really works !!
URL's description: Forward this to everyone on your list, then Icq will automatically update you to the golden version!

Forget about the "golden version"... forward MY URL and you'll get the deluxe PLATINUM VERSION! Hurry! This offer won't last long! Forward it now and get a FREE BONUS: a little barking dog will run across your screen and pee on the ICQ flower, which will then change colors! Woo hoo! How can you resist such an offer? Don't read any further until you've forwarded my URL!

Well, did you do it? I have a little bit of disappointing news for you... you're not going to automatically get anything. Sowwy. Had you going there for a second, didn't I? There is no "golden version" of ICQ and if someone offered you one I'd suggest turning them down (it may not be ICQ at all but something malicious instead). If you want the latest version of ICQ the only way you're going to get it is to go download it for yourself. Forwarding a message does just that, it forwards a message, nothing more, nothing less.

  ICQ Rumor #86
URL: send it to me and 30 people
URL's description: send to me and 30 ppl, your nickname will be said outloud when you get a message! no more uh-oh!!!!!

This will only work if your nickname is "SUCKER!!!" *g* Okay, the truth is you could send this "URL" to 30 million people and you'll still hear the "uh-oh" sound.. probably quite often as people write back to ask you to stop sending them useless garbage. If you would really like to change the sounds your ICQ makes, try installing one of the alternative sound schemes provided by ICQ Inc. (R86)

  ICQ Rumor #85
URL: http://www.onward.to/spam (Note: this is not the actual URL)
URL's description: ICQ User Advisory

*sniff sniff* Do you smell something? *sniff* I do believe that is the unmistakable stench of SPAM being passed off as an "advisory." The page the URL links to appears to be a legitimate warning to ICQ users about the Happy99 and Melissa trojans and begins by urging everyone to forward the page to other ICQ users. It's the next line that raised my eyebrow: "ICQ users have confirmed that variants of two "Trojan Horse" viruses, Happy99 and Melissa, are now being distributed via the ICQ file transfer and email protocols." Or really? New variants that are spread via ICQ? Confirmed by what ICQ users? I've looked everywhere and can't find a single reference to any new variants of Happy or Melissa. For the record, Happy is spread via a file called happy99.exe which after being run will send a copy of itself to each person you send an e-mail to (only once per e-mail addy) or as an attachment to Usenet posts. The only way it can spread through ICQ is if someone intentionally sends the happy99.exe file and the person receiving it then runs the program. At that point it will start attaching itself to e-mails and Usenet posts, not ICQ messages. Melissa is a Word Document macro virus which like Happy has no particular significance to ICQ users. That's why I feel the real purpose of this "advisory" page is to use scare tactics to promote the URL redirect service that hosts the page. I agree with their advice about not running happy.exe or happy99.exe if you receive it as a file transfer (or more likely as an e-mail attachment). And you should also be careful with Word doc files. But this isn't really an ICQ related issue and the deceptive way they wrote their advisory seems intended to scare people into spreading their URL, which in turn advertises their service. Is this really a practice we want to see become common with ICQ? In my opinion, it's just another form of spam. (R85)

  ICQ Rumor #84
URL: Alert Virus!
URL's description: Don't use ICQ on 5/26, Virus CIH26 will attack through ICQ. Forward this to all your list.

Viruses don't "attack" though ICQ. Viruses spread when an infected file is run, it makes no difference how you receive the file, be it ICQ, an e-mail attachment, a download from a website or a diskette. If the file is infected AND YOU RUN IT then the virus will spread to other files on your system. When the virus is triggered (in this case, by detecting a "detonation date"), it will execute its payload, which could be anything from a harmless joke to damaging files necessary to the functioning of your system. The virus doesn't care whether you run ICQ or not, if you have been infected then it is going to do its dirty work. If it infected other files on your hard drive, such as that cute little greeting card you like to send to your friends, then they are also going to have the same problem. Conclusion: don't fear ICQ on the 26th or any other day, fear files that have been indiscriminately passed around from person to person, because that is how a virus is most likely to "attack" you. (R84)

  ICQ Rumor #83
all files downloaded from download.com are infected with CIH virus..

Well now, that rumor was certainly short and stupid. Saying that "all" the files from Download.com are infected is much like saying all the files on the net are infected. Why? Because many of the files you download from Download.com are located on remote servers usually belonging to the company or individual who developed the software. For example, if you want to download the latest version of ICQ "from" Download.com, you can choose get it from their server or CDROM.com, SimTel or AOL. Other programs are only available from the original developer, which means it is their responsibility to ensure the software is uninfected. The bottom line is, because the files are distributed over many different servers, it is nearly impossible for all the files to become infected with a virus. (R83)

  ICQ Rumor #82
URL's description: Send this to all your conntacts: On 5. of May, NATO virus will be in the file ICQ.ini. Delete file!

Send this to all your "conntacts" and it may be the last time you hear from them.
  1. I can find no record of a NATO virus, but it is trivial to change the name of an existing virus and have it set to detonate on May 5th, so it really doesn't matter if it exists or not.
  2. INI (initialization) files are not executable, therefore they cannot spread viruses.
  3. If you delete the icq.ini file you will not be able to run ICQ.
This rumor is a good example of a form of "info virus." It isn't spread by software but rather by people passing it on to their contacts... you could say it infects minds instead of computers. The danger is that someone will follow the instructions, in which case they will damage their own files. It also demonstrates why you shouldn't forward "advice" that you are unsure of... the person receiving it may follow the instructions because they thought you knew what you were talking about. How would you feel if half the people on your contact list screwed-up their ICQ and then blamed you? You could say "Well, I didn't know it wasn't true" and they would have every right to say "Then why did you send it, ya moron?"

  ICQ Rumor #81
URL: No URL, just forward.
URL's description: On May 5. 1999, the NATO virus will be unleashed. Plz warn as many as possible NOT to PC's that day!

More "good advice" about a potentially non-existant threat. At least the "cure" this time won't trash your ICQ, and in fact if you were to apply it to every virus you would be completely safe. I say that because there is at least one virus set to detonate on practically every day of the year, so if you never turn on your computer nothing bad can ever happen. (R81)

Next Up...
Have you received a porn spam through ICQ? Is ICQ shutting down inactive accounts? Have you sent your "donation" to Walter so he can buy ICQ from AOL? You got to see some of these. *g*

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